(Above and below) Spiny seahorse at Studland Bay © Julie Hatcher
A seahorse sighting has been made in Studland Bay by a Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) marine awareness officer. The sighting confirms that seahorses are alive, well and breeding in Studland Bay this summer.
Over recent years the sightings of these enigmatic animals have been few and far between. This could possibly be as a result of several harsh winters, maybe because fewer people have been surveying for them or it might also be that the population follows a boom and bust cycle. We simply don’t know enough about them to say for sure.
Seahorses favour the rich seagrass meadows found in the shallow, sheltered waters of Studland Bay, along with a host of other marine species that make up the specialised and important community of wildlife there.
Male and female seahorses found
This summer a magnificent male seahorse was spotted by DWT’s marine awareness officer, Julie Hatcher, when she accidentally stumbled across it while diving. A female seahorse was also found nearby. “Both seahorses were large and in tip-top condition. It’s good news for the Studland Bay seahorses and good news for Dorset’s wildlife lovers. It also gives us further reason to continue our campaign for protection of Studland Bay as a Marine Conservation Zone.”
Studland Bay has twice been held back from designation as the government seeks to create a network of Marine Conservation Zones around England and Wales. To counter the misinformation about what designation would mean to the people who visit the Bay, Dorset Wildlife Trust has published its vision of how the Bay could look if it were protected in this way.
DWT believes that with the right management in place, both people and wildlife would benefit.
Find out more...
Click here to read about DWT’s Vision for Studland Bay marine conservation zone (MCZ)
Seahorses are protected species by law and you must have a wildlife license if you are diving and intending to do something likely to disturb seahorses. This could be taking photographs, filming or surveys. Intentionally disturbing seahorses in the absence of a wildlife license could lead to enforcement action. For more information go to www.gov.uk/understand-marine-wildlife-licences-and-report-an-incident
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.